Regional budgets will have to find additional sources to finance current expenditure
In order to preserve budget surplus, the state budget is envisaged to be reduced by 7-8% in 2016. The state investment programme will be subjected to considerable reductions; the volume of intergovernmental transfers will be reduced, too. Some regional budget revenues for up to 70% depend on gratuitous receipts from higher budgets. On the regional level, secondary costs are likely to be reduced, most profitable regional enterprises are likely to bear an additional financial burden, including non-state enterprises. Regional protectionism may enhance in order to secure funds for local budgets, additional local taxes may be introduced, or existing taxes may be adjusted upwards. When supplying goods and services within the state procurement programmes, the settlement terms may be extended, and volume of overdue payments may increase, leading to a further deterioration with payments in the economy.
The Belarusian authorities regard the Catholic conference as yet another international event to promote Minsk as a global negotiating platform. Minsk’s proposal to organise a meeting between the Roman-Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church is rather an image-making undertaking than a serious intention. However, the authorities could somewhat extend the opportunities for the Roman-Catholic Church in Belarus due to developing contacts with the Catholic world.
Minsk is attempting to lay out a mosaic from various international religious, political and sportive events to shape a positive image of Belarus for promoting the Helsinki 2.0 idea.
Belarus’ invitation to the head of the Holy See for a meeting with the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church should be regarded as a continuation of her foreign policy efforts in shaping Minsk’s peacekeeping image and enhancing Belarus’ international weight. The Belarusian authorities are aware that their initiative is unlikely to find supporters among the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow. In Russia, isolationist sentiments prevail.
In addition, for domestic audiences, the authorities make up for the lack of tangible economic growth with demonstrations of growth in Minsk’s authority at international level through providing a platform for religious, sportive and other dialogues.